Bipartisan energy-efficiency caucus formed in Congress
A new caucus in Washington will push for policies to support energy efficiency.
U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, a Colorado Republican, joined with U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, a Vermont Democrat, to announce Wednesday the creation of a bipartisan caucus in Congress that will focus on energy efficiency in federal buildings.
“The goal of our caucus is going to be pushing for policies that reduce energy costs, cut pollution, and create jobs,” Gardner, R-Yuma, and Welch said in a joint statement.
“There is nearly 3 billion square feet of building space that is owned and operated by the federal government, and by making government buildings more energy efficient we can save taxpayer dollars and give a boost the construction and energy sectors of our economy,” the two said.
Gardner represents Colorado’s 4th congressional district, which encompasses much of the state’s Eastern Plains as well as Greeley and Fort Morgan.
The newly formed Energy Savings Performance Caucus has 10 members. It stems from Gardner and Welch’s collaboration on several congressional amendments promoting the use of Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs) — contracts that allow a private company to make energy efficiency improvements to a building, and be paid via a share of the client’s savings from lower utility bills.
In December 2011, President Barack Obama authorized department and agency heads to use up to $2 billion toward the implementation of performance such contracts.
Gardner and Welch believe the government has been slow to act on these contracts and hope the new caucus can speed things up by getting the executive branch departments to evaluate their facilities and potential saves that could be gained by energy efficiency contracts.
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